The Tesla Approach to Distributing and Servicing Cars
Quote 1: Our technology is different, our car is different, and, as a result, our stores are intentionally different.
Quote 2: Automotive franchise laws were put in place decades ago to prevent a manufacturer from unfairly opening stores in direct competition with an existing franchise dealer that had already invested time, money and effort to open and promote their business.
Quote 3: At Tesla, we will continue to focus on the future and the future of your children, grandchildren and their children.
Questions: Should our schools be intentionally different? Can an existing school transform in such a way? Can we focus that far in the future, or does the institutional imperative to preserve itself override any possibility of that?
Google Street View Goes Into The Wild
Quote 1: Earlier this week, two teams from Google strapped on sophisticated backpacks jammed with cameras, gyroscopes and other gadgets, and descended to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But this is just the first step in the search giant's plan to digitally map and photograph the world's wild places.
Quote 2: This is just the beginning. Google wants to send the Trekker on expeditions all over the world. Team members talk about everything from the Appalachian Trail to Antarctica — and one day maybe even Everest.
Questions: Holodeck, anyone? Combine this with Siri, Google Glass, Wolfram Alpha, etc. - do we just need to rethink everything about school? About learning?
Monkeys, Flea Jars, Crab Buckets, and Educational Risk-Taking
Quote 1: Yet, all of the new monkeys vigorously enforce the prohibition against trying to get the banana because, hey, that’s how we do things around here.
Quote 2: “Are our classrooms like a flea jar?”
Quote 3: In these schools, whenever an enterprising teacher did something new and excellent that also was perceived to be too far beyond the norm, the other teachers would engage in behaviors that were intended to hold her back and instead re-align her to what everyone else was doing (or not doing).
Quote 4: The challenge for us, however, is that we live in a time of significant disruption. As new information environments, economic realities, and learning landscapes form themselves before our very eyes, transitioning our school systems so that they are relevant for today and tomorrow, not just yesterday, is going to require gobs of innovation and experimentation. Yet we have schooling, policy, and leadership cultures that are extremely intolerant of risk-taking and, indeed, will vigorously intervene to reinforce static processes, mindsets, and behaviors.
Questions: Sometimes I need to be the flea, but jump when the lid is off. Sometimes I need to be the jar (without the lid), providing constraints and guidance to help my students jump (and achieve "escape velocity" and leave the jar (me) behind). Is school the lid? Is curriculum the lid? Or am I the lid?
Leaders: Don't Be The Lid
Quote 1: As new hires come on board, the new hires automatically follow this example.
Questions: Can the change really come from within? Does the institutional education jar, almost by definition, have to come with a lid? Is the flea jar a perfect metaphor for Race to the Top?
Divergent Thinking And A Jar Of Fleas
Quote 2: An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak. When you're present in the current moment. When you're resonating with the excitement with this thing you're are experiencing. When you are fully alive. An anesthetic is when you shut yourself off.
Questions: It's said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. But is it possible that school, by its very nature, is so focused on the past that it's condemned to ignore the present and the future? Is "backwards planning" a stunningly apropos description? Are we figuratively (and sometimes literally) drugging our children so that they don't notice this fact? Are we drugging ourselves?
Like I said, not quite sure I've figured out how this all fits together for me yet. Maybe it doesn't. Or maybe it's just more of my usual education angst. It just seems like if this were a campaign the slogan would be "Backwards!"
Update 11-4-12: Pam Moran leaves a comment that is waaaaay better than this post is.